Trattoria Cibreo, Florence

posted on: Thursday, 27 June 2013

A 'Cucina Povera' dish at Cibreo Trattoria
Cibreo Trattoria in Florence

Fabio Picchi's cookbooks at the Teatro del Sale store

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned I turned up a little early to Teatro del Sale's famous Sunday brunch. While I was loitering around the central brunch table, I was joined by an incredibly tall, white-haired man who was keenly inspecting all of the dishes on the table. Who else but the owner and big man on campus in Florence food circles, Fabio Picchi!

With four in-demand restaurants in Florence's city centre and a number of books to his name, I was surprised to hear that he has built his reputation without ever serving pasta. Yes, ever. What he does serve though is 'Cucina Povera' literally peasant food or comfort food. 

Intrigued, a group of friends and I decided to try out Cucina Povera at Pichhi's casual eatery, Trattoria Cibreo. We came to understand pretty quickly that the gist of this style of cooking is rustic meals that make use of all parts of the animal.

Among the options of tripe soup and chicken breast stuffed with chicken necks served at room temperature, I selected the slow cooked beef cheeks with a stew of tomato, carrots, celery, rosemary and onion. My meal was simple, earthy, tender and rich in flavour.  But I must admit that the cut of meat was like nothing I had tried before and this unsettled me a little. The taste made me think of a proud, but poor Tuscan mama lovingly pulling together a meal using a little meat and vegetables from her garden.

I recommend trying Pichhi's brand of Cucina Povera, but know this: if you are more conservative with your meat preferences, come with an open mind!

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